Paul O’Rourke and Claire Healy
The self-builders in Co Cork
Paul O’Rourke and Claire Healy. Photograph: Paul Sherwood
Paul O’Rourke was gifted a site in Co Cork by his parents in Mountrivers, Rylane on what is known as the Old Butter Road, the route along which milk was transported from Kerry to Cork.
He and his wife Claire Healy got married in 2011 and began their mortgage hunt. They found the process to be slow and frustrating. “There was a lot of documentation but there always seemed to be something missing,” Paul recalls. Both were PAYE workers and their bank could see from their accounts how much they were earning. Paul says that “it’s important to show you can afford your payments if the interest rates go up. It is also important to show that you can afford to live.”
Paul had a permanent job. Claire was on a 12-month contract which meant the bank treated them as a married couple with one income. They got a mortgage of 4.5 times Paul’s annual income. But because they were building their house they needed a 10 per cent contingency fund for overruns in addition to the 10 per cent deposit required.
Together since 2006, the couple had been saving for four to five years prior to getting married. They continued saving and set up a joint savings account before they applied for the mortgage.
The build took 15 months, about three months longer than they had anticipated. “With self-build there are all these stage payments that have to be made, six in total,” Paul explains.
“Our engineer had to sign off on works before our solicitor could request to draw down the money from the bank. At every stage our mortgage advisor was there to talk us through what was needed.”
In conversation with Alanna Gallagher